The vascular body is an ideal in the world of fitness and physique, however it takes a relentless pursuit of training and nutrition to accomplish this goal. In order to achieve that sort of chiseled physique, body fat must be low and hydration must be high along with a diet that has minimal room for extras like dessert, fried foods or really carbs in general.
This might be doable for an elite athlete or pro lifter who has no other demands on their time than to become the absolute pinnacle of vascularity and health. However, the other 99.9% of people have real life commitments and priorities such as jobs, families, and so on that make it a bit harder to achieve the perfect body, workout plan, and diet.
That is where supplements can provide a major boost to help us achieve our goals while balancing the other joys in life such as time with our kids and spouse, ambitions within our career or just having a social life. In this article, we will be covering some of the basic supplements needed to help you achieve peak vascularity without quitting your day job.
Key Factors to Keep in Mind:
Before we dive into the exact supplements needed, there are a couple factors or guidelines when it comes to supplements that we must keep in mind in order for them to work effectively and for us to use them safely.
First, always remember that supplements are exactly that, supplements. That means they do not function as a substitute or a replacement for a quality diet or training plan, rather they help to fill in the missing links or supplement what we already do to amplify results. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to success, just a boost here and there to help out.
Secondly, supplements must be dosed correctly, ideally, we want to shoot for the minimum effective dose, both for your body and wallet’s sake. Most supplements will have the serving sizes listed on the label, and there are only rare occasions where more than the recommended dose will be needed. In addition, like any other substance we put in our body such as caffeine or penicillin, we will develop a tolerance over time to a supplement if it is taken regularly without pause. It is better to cycle on and off of supplements every month to two months, or change the supplement being used to avoid the body adapting too much and thus limiting its effectiveness.
Third, timing is crucial. Unfortunately, we cannot slam all of our BCAA’s, creatine, protein and other products first thing in the morning and be good to go. We’ll dive into this in more detail with each individual supplement, but suffice to say that timing may be just as critical as dosage or the supplement choice.
Finally, always hydrate. Our liver, kidneys and the rest of our filtration system must process these new substances being introduced to us, and it requires an adequate level of hydration to maintain our ability to filter and utilize the supplements as needed. A good rule of thumb as a very general guideline is to increase your water intake by 8oz from your normal with every supplement you take. If you start three new supplements this evening, you need to up your hydration game by 24oz from your normal (assuming you adequately hydrate in the first place).
We will be reviewing our supplements in order of their usage relative to the training session in a given day. As we mentioned previously, timing is crucial and the supplements work best in coordination with training.
Start of the Day or Prior to Training Session: Fat Burner
Metabolism and maintaining or increasing our metabolic rate is a key component to fat loss and in turn increasing our vascularity and blood flow. Using a fat-burner product based on green tea extract can be an excellent choice for ramping up metabolism and continuing to burn calories before and after training. Being that fat burner is based on a stimulant via the green tea extract among others, it is best to take this earlier in the day and prior to your training session.
Prior to Training Session Start: Pre-Workout
As the name implies, a pre-workout supplement is taken…you guessed it, before the workout, roughly 15-30 minutes prior in most cases. Pre-workout is a stimulant specifically designed to kick-start the nervous system and help us achieve mental alertness and energy for our given training session. In older times, pre-workout might have been a cup of coffee or red bull, however now there are much more refined products on the market specifically designed for training and includes not only caffeine as a stimulant but also creatine, Beta-alanine, Taurine and other ingredients that not only wake us up and pump us up but also prepare our bodies for work. This is especially useful if you tend to have a busy life outside of training, and we have all experienced the dreaded training session after a full day of work, we’re exhausted and distracted and just want to get through it. However, to achieve peak vascularity and fitness we have to crush it, not just get through it, and pre-workout can provide the boost needed on those days we feel a bit less motivated or beaten down by the pressures of life.
During the Training Session: Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s)
BCAA’s are a fantastic supplement that can be mixed with water and drunk throughout the workout or training session. This helps muscles recover quicker within workouts and helps us to increase our workload. Our bodies need branched chain amino acids in order to function at full capacity, and utilizing BCAA’s can be an easy to implement supplement that will make your workouts last longer and become more effective.
After the Training Session: Whey Protein
The classic and time-tested supplement is whey protein. Research has shown that anywhere between 25-50 grams of protein within 30 minutes of concluding your workout can have incredible gains on your muscular size and development, along with aiding in recovery. The 30-minute window is crucial, as once your body begins to down-regulate from its workout state, the opportunity to capitalize on the gains in our muscles decreases over time. The quick strategy is to have a shaker cup with two scoops of protein prepared and in your gym bag so that you can mix it with water (always hydrate!) and drink it as soon as you finish your workout. If you prefer a tastier and filling post-workout shake that can be great as well, provided you have quick access to a smoothie bar or blender at your place of training.
Putting it all Together: Supplement for Success!
In conclusion, supplements can be the difference between achieving peak vascularity within our busy lifestyles, or continuing to try and run uphill against the pressures of life without any help. As discussed, supplements must be used responsibly in coordination with a proper diet and training plan. We must hydrate at a high level for them to work effectively, and timing is crucial. Pre-workout is 30 minutes prior to the training session, sip on BCAA’s throughout the training session, and crush some whey protein within 30 minutes of ending your training session for peak physique and vascular fitness!!